Royal Shakespeare Company Announcement
December 7, 2005
I want to thank Ken Fischer and the University Musical Society for playing such an indispensable role in this exciting partnership with the Royal Shakespeare Company. UMS and the University of Michigan are tremendous collaborators, and this upcoming RSC residency promises to be no exception.
I want to share with you a little story about the power of this residency.
Four years ago, when the RSC was first on campus, two of our freshmen — Taryn Fixel and Megan Marod — took full advantage of the residency by going to every play and participating in many of the educational and social events surrounding the performances. Inspired by what they witnessed, they wrote a compelling proposal to the RSC and to faculty here, suggesting that if actors from the RSC were coming to Ann Arbor to act, students from U-M should go to Stratford, England, to learn.
The result of their creative effort was not only their spending twelve weeks in Stratford, as assistant directors of RSC productions in the summer of 2003, but the creation of an annual program that now sends two of our students to Stratford each summer, in a program jointly sponsored by our English and Theater departments.
That is the tremendous impact of this residency, and it will continue next fall with “A Festival of Shakespeare’s Classics.”
Our students will have the opportunity to get to know the company both professionally and personally, through master classes, panel discussions, workshops, and other activities that a three-week residency makes possible.
Our faculty will find unique opportunities to share their knowledge regarding the titles being performed, the history surrounding the titles, themes relevant to the plays, and the performance and theatrical experience itself.
Our campus offers a wealth of multidisciplinary resources for exploring these plays, covering perspectives from classics to women’s studies. These experts will be able to provide context not only for students, but for the entire southeast Michigan community through the residency events open to the public.
It is through special events like the RSC residency that the greater southeast Michigan community and the University become a seamless whole. The RSC is truly “in residence” in Ann Arbor, Detroit, and surrounding areas … living, working, teaching, and bringing us all together to celebrate classic works of literature, an exceptional theater company, and our community’s dedication to the performing arts.
Nowhere else in the country are these plays being performed. Nowhere else in the country are these residency events enlightening us all.
One elite theater troupe and one renowned university will equal three weeks of great performances for our community.
People will travel to Ann Arbor and to the University of Michigan from all over the country to experience these plays, these actors, and this very special opportunity. This is one more example of The Michigan Difference.
I look forward to next fall … to absorbing, enjoying, and sharing all of this excitement with all of you. Thank you all very much for being here, and for supporting this extraordinary project!